NEW YORK – The first five innings featured almost nothing to speak of from an offensive standpoint from either team.
Kyle Kendrick sets the New York Mets’ hitters down frame after frame while Dillon Gee kept the Phils offense in its two-week long comatose state. The most interesting thing that happened came in the bottom of the first inning, when home plate umpire Brian O’Nora quickly left the field with flu-like symptoms.
The nine-minute delay began with first base-turned-home plate umpire sprinted up the third base line en route to the umpire’s clubhouse to switch gear.
Charlie Manuel probably felt like calling in sick, too, as the game continued. The Phillies had one runner find his way into scoring position in the first five innings.
That runner – Laynce Nix – was stranded one second after a leadoff double to begin the third inning.
The Phillies offense showed a pulse, however, with back-to-back singles from Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to start the sixth. With runners on first and third and no one out, the question most jaded Philadelphians had one their mind wasn’t how would the Phils score the run, but instead, how would they fail to bring Rollins home.
In each of the three previous games – all losses – the Phils failed in three separate instances with a runner on third and no one out.
But on Friday night in Flushing, N.Y., Michael Young singled home Rollins with the game’s first run. And Ryan Howard followed three pitches later by annihilating a Dillon Gee changeup over the fence in center for a three-run home run.
The sudden offensive explosion led Kendrick and the Phillies to a sparkling 4-0 victory, snapping a three-game losing skid in the process.
Kendrick was downright dominant. He held the Mets to four singles in a four-hit shutout.
It was his second career shutout and first since blanking the Cardinals in St. Louis last June.
The Phils offense was downright dormant. But it rose to life for a brief instant on Friday, and that was good enough for one night.
The Phils didn’t score a run before of after the sixth inning, when each of the first four batters of the inning reached on hits and scored, too.
It was just the fourth time the Phils had scored four or more runs in their last 15 games. But it was enough for Kendrick.
Kendrick needed 107 pitches to dispatch of the Mets in 155 minutes. He struck out five, walked one and got 10 ground-ball outs.
While the rotation has been dependable for the last two weeks, the 28-year-old Kendrick has been the most consistent of the five starters. Kendrick is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five starts.
After allowing five runs in his first start – a game he was pulled from with the lead when the Kansas Royals were rallying in the sixth – Kendrick is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last four starts.
Kendrick allowed just four base runners on Friday – three singles and a walk – and only one after the fifth inning. After the Phils posted four runs onto the scoreboard in the top half of the sixth, Kendrick retired eight in a row and 12 of the final 13 batters of the game.
Thanks to Kendrick and the four-run outburst in the sixth, the Phils didn’t need to take their chances with a slim lead and a busy bullpen on Friday. The win over the Mets marked just the fifth time this season the Phillies won a game by a margin of four runs or more.
Mike Adams may or may not be available to pitch out of the Phillies bullpen for the second straight day.
Both manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee intimated that it would likely be a game-time decision on their set-up man. What's wrong with Adams?
Apparently it's just a workload thing. Adams has pitched in 11 of the Phillies first 23 games.
He pitched four times on the just-completed homestand, and in three of the previous four games when he was held out of action on Thursday afternoon.
"A lot of work," Dubee said. "He had a tender hip, but that’s no issue. He aggravated it one day. But that you go with… you’ll have stuff (like that) on a regular basis. But the workload – he’s pitched a lot."
Dubee said Adam's hip was simply a one-day thing. But it's worth wondering if the Phils have to be particularly cautious with Adams since he is coming off November surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, which included having a rib removed.
"You have to be careful with everybody," Dubee said.
After his most recent appearance - when he didn’t retire a batter, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks, in a 5-3 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday - Adams said he had trouble locating.
"I think it's a physical thing, a wear and tear thing of probably too much too early," Dubee said. "All of a sudden you’re fatigued, you’re trying to do more, you’re off your line and you miss."
Only 10 NL relievers have appeared in more games than Adams.
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Chase Utley, 2B
3. Michael Young, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Domonic Brown, LF
6. John Mayberry Jr., CF
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. Erik Kratz, C
9. Kyle Kendrick, P
After being the only player to start in each of the first 22 games, Ben Revere is out of the lineup for the second straight day. Revere is battling a minor left quad injury.
Although he said he was feeling better on Friday, Revere made mention of Monday's sceduled day off and hinted that is was possible he stays out of regular action this weekend in an effort to get his legs 100 percent healthy.
He'll be re-evaluated on Saturday.